The state pushed Tuesday for a federal judge to dismiss most of a state trooper’s claims in a lawsuit that alleges the Maine State Police illegally gathered data on Mainers.
State Trooper George Loder sued the state in May allegeding he was demoted when he called out illegal data collection practices at the Maine Information and Analysis Center. In his lawsuit, Loder said the agency was spying on Mainers, maintaining an illegal firearms registry and keeping tabs on people who participated in legal protests.
The state has previously denied Loder’s allegations, and in September, filed a motion in federal court to dismiss four of the six claims in his lawsuit according to the Portland Press Herald.
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While the Maine State Police have faced scrutiny by lawmakers for these practices and attempted to shed light on the agency’s activities with news conferences, the Tuesday hearing focused not on these allegations but on whether the federal Privacy Act allowed Loder to sue the center or the individual police officers the complaint names, the Press Herald reported.
On Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Valerie Wright said the Privacy Act only applied to federal agencies, not individual state employees or state agencies, but Loder’s attorney disagreed.
U.S. District Judge Jon Levy has not yet issued a decision on which — if any — claims can move forward. Two of Loder’s complaints about whistleblower protection and retaliation under the First Amendment will not be affected if Levy dismisses the other four claims, according to the Press Herald.